Minutes for November 10, 2018 Meeting of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco taken by Aubrey Freedman.
Attendees: Nick Smith (Chair), Rebecca Lau (Vice Chair), Jawj Greenwald (Treasurer), Aubrey Freedman (Secretary), Allen Sherzer (guest), Andrew (guest), Saul (guest), Starchild, and Neil Walgren (guest).
Introductions: Neil has been in the Bay Area for three years and wants to learn more about libertarianism. He was formerly in the military and found out about the LPSF from reading our arguments in the Voter’s Handbook. Andrew is looking to get involved in the liberty movement; he was involved with Students for Liberty when he attended CAL.
Chair’s Report: Nick was still getting requests for ballot measure information during the last few weeks preceding the election, and he tended to all of them. One was from a lady from Pew Research Statline who was interested in our perspective on Prop A (seawall bond), but she was more interested in the engineering aspect of the issue than our philosophical/economic points. The second call was from an anonymous student who wouldn’t identify what organization she was calling for—again this was for Prop A. The third request was from the League of Women Voters, and Starchild presented the case against Prop A and Nick presented against Prop E (arts funding earmark). Nick felt it was a good complement for voters to see Libertarians represented by two different types—the more anarchist-appearing Starchild and the straight-laced looking Nick. Nick also did some follow-up work on the October mailer. 90 mailers were returned due to folks having moved (even though he used a fresh updated registration list from the Department of Elections), and he remailed the mailers to 40 Libertarians voters and also sent out 11 thank you letters. The results from the mailer show a net increase in income as the cost was $785 for 2,100 pieces, and the revenue was $945, which consisted of $675 in new memberships and $270 in donations. Ten new members joined from the mailer, and two of those were for 2-year memberships.
Vice Chair’s Report: Rebecca reported that she went to a meeting called CORO, which is a public policy boot camp for graduates who work on political campaigns in the Bay Area. They asked her a million questions. She will be meeting with a small-knit group on November 11 about civility and third parties. She will be speaking about the close Senate races in this election and the “spoiler” effect of third parties. She will miss the next LPSF meeting because it will be on the same day as the LPCA Excomm meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: Aubrey reported that we have $2,932.73 in the credit union (plus another 8 cents that he already complained to the credit union that they again charged our account in error for a deposit and he is expecting it to be reversed) and what he estimates as $3,257.92 in PayPal. Nick also just received additional checks for new memberships and donations (no doubt spurred by the recent mailer) totaling $425.00. During the month we received in a total of $851.92 in memberships and donations, and no new checks were written. That leaves our cash position at $2,932.73 + .08 + $3,257.92 + $425.00 - $937.71 (Nick’s check for the mailer costs hasn’t cleared the bank yet) = $5,678.02.
Secretary’s Report: Aubrey reported that membership continues to grow every month lately. It is up by two members from last month with 21 lifetime members and 36 regular, currently paid-up members, for a total of 57. (During the meeting Neil took out a new membership, so that made it 37 regular members for an updated total of 58.) He pointed out that the membership growth is hugely due to Nick’s efforts to grow the party locally.
Newsletter Report: Nick reported that the October newsletter went out to 1,589 recipients and was opened by 15.8% of the recipients and 5.3% clicked on something in the newsletter. Starchild, Rebecca, and Aubrey each wrote an article for the October newsletter, and Aubrey noted that it was good for our readers to see different Libertarian perspectives from the different writers. Nick also sent out a special election email with our ballot measure recommendations, and 14% opened the email and 3% clicked on something in the email.
Post-Election Report: Nick reported that, as usual, the results of the November election were dismal for liberty. The Democrats continue to control the state, and while no Libertarians were elected to office, several pulled in some respectable numbers: Brandon Nelson in State Assembly District 4 garnered 24.6%, Justin Quigley in State Assembly District 21 got 28.7% (he ran Facebook ads), Christopher Stare got 13.4%, Autumn Browne (daughter of LP Presidential candidate Harry Browne) got 24.8%, and Mimi Robson got 27.1%. Robert and Jennifer Imhoff, who both ran for the school board in San Jose, each garnered 5% and 3.3% respectively. John Dennis, running for District 2 Supervisor came in last at 9.05%, and Lisa Remmer running against Pelosi got 13.2%. Nicholas Wildstar, running for Fullerton City Council, came in last at 9.4%, and John Inks, running for Mountain View City Council, also came in last at 12.54%. Harland Harrison from San Mateo County pulled in a respectable 24.5% running for the Sequoia Healthcare District. Locally, all the ballot measures passed, and sadly both ballot measures where the LPSF was the only opponent, those two ballot measures (props A and E) garnered the highest voter approval rates. There is some talk of Prop C (business tax for the homelessness industry) being challenged because it should have required a 2/3 approval vote since it is an earmarking for a specific purpose, rather than the normal 50% + 1 vote required for general tax increases. The gas tax repeal failed to pass, garnering only 43.2%, but at least Prop 10 (repeal of Costa Hawkins, which would have allowed more extreme rent control) also failed to pass, garnering only 40.6% approval statewide. Prop 8, which would have dictated the profit levels of kidney dialysis clinics, at least failed to pass with a 40.1% approval rate. Nationally, Laura Ebke in Nebraska failed in her re-election effort in Nebraska (but did get a respectable 43.68%), and Gary Johnson only received 15.39% running for the US Senate from New Mexico. Larry Sharpe, running for Governor in New York State, received 89,000 votes, which was enough to get ballot access for New York. The results in Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Washington D.C. were also adequate enough to secure ballot access in those states—at least for a couple of years.
LPSF Convention Planning: Nick and Rebecca have reserved the Latino Hispanic Room at the Main Library for January 5 but decided that it’s a better idea to go back to the regular January 12 date since folks just getting back from the holidays might not be ready to attend a convention. There is also concern that the venue might be too big for the number of attendees, so they may change the location too. One of the pieces of business that needs to be done is an update of the by-laws; Starchild agreed to work on that. Officers also need to be elected at the annual January meeting. There will also be some brainstorming for goals for 2019. Nick also suggested a formal budget for the year be presented and discussed; Starchild and Jawj both felt that there was no specific benefit to having a formal budget. Two speakers for the convention mentioned were Clint Griess, who has worked on several political campaigns, most recently London Breed and John Dennis, and Jim Eyer, who spoke about planning your vision at the leadership summit a few months ago.
Panel Discussion Planning: The 5th Annual LPSF Panel Discussion was held this past June at the Mechanic’s Institute on school choice, and the panelists were Vicki Alger and Carol Kocivar. For the 6th Annual Panel Discussion, many ideas were thrown about: minimum wage, entitlement, unfunded liabilities, government workers paid more than the voluntary sector, unions as monopolies, criminal justice reform, automation and universal basic income, gentrification, voluntary charities vs. government helping the needy, and homelessness. The topic that elicited the most positive response was criminal justice reform. Starchild prefers to have the event at SF State at noon when there are many students milling around. Nick noted that since the annual state convention is early in April, he prefers to have the panel discussion around the end of April.
We Do Better in San Francisco Planning: In September the LPSF endorsed the universal credit bill for California. We Do Better supports the goal of people voluntarily helping other people, rather than having the government doing the job. Nick mentioned the Cajun Navy that worked in New Orleans after Katrina and also the nonfiction book written by Dave Eggers entitled Zeitoun about a man who stayed behind when the hurricane came and ended up getting arrested by government officials even though he was rescuing neighbors and abandoned pets. Arizona currently has a $400 credit ($800 for a married couple) that the taxpayer can donate to any valid 501[c}(3). The idea of voluntary charity, rather than forced, is very much libertarian, though the organization is not political or partisan. The first attempt at passing the universal charitable credit in California at $500 failed last year, but the goal is to reintroduce it again in April 2019 for $200 by Senator Morrell. He will try to find a Democrat to sponsor it with him. Nick is heading the effort in San Francisco, and similar efforts are supposed to be taking place in Los Angeles and San Diego. The plan is to gain support for the idea first before official introduction in Sacramento in April. There is a Facebook page and also solution cards to tackle difficult social problems like healthcare, homelessness, poverty, disaster relief, and justice and protection. It also wouldn’t hurt the LPSF to be involved in this effort to improve our often-criticized coldhearted image.
Activist Reports: Aubrey worked on the John Dennis campaign. Starchild has still been after radio station KALW to improve their coverage of the ballot measures so they’re not so one-sided. He also attended the District 6 debates to support Sonja Trauss. Starchild also continues to post pro-liberty comments in the Examiner to offset the statist comments of the cast of characters who post there. He also attended an election night party at a little art gallery which had a “fake Oval Office.” He mentioned International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17, which will publicize violence against sex workers and also recent legislation passed by Congress which has had a chilling effect on advertising for the industry since Craigslist won’t run sexual ads anymore. He will be working with iCAT.org to help draft legislation to decriminalize prostitution. Jawj worked on the Loren Taylor campaign for the Oakland City Council, and he won against the incumbent Desley Brooks. Rebecca has been posting a lot of comments on Facebook. Nick took the calls regarding Prop A and communicated the Libertarian perspective on all three inquiries, which included the League of Women Voters presentation. Andrew voted and convinced others to vote against some of the ballot measures. Saul supported Sonja’s run for supervisor. Neil voted.
Tuesday, November 13: Governance In An Emerging New World: The Information Challenge to Democracy
3:30-5:00pm, Hauck Auditorium, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
The communications revolution has surrounded society with information, some right and some wrong, and enabled people to communicate and organize like never before. It gives new dimensions to the old challenge of governing over diversity. Participants will examine the rapid spread of information and means of communicating and suggest responses to the governance challenges posed by social media, fake news, and the decline of confidence in institutions. The discussion will address means to protect the political process against conflict and potential polarization stirred up through social media networks and potential rules of the road to govern information warfare.
Thursday, November 15: “None of Our Business” LPSF Happy Hour
7-10pm, ThirstyBear Brewing Co, 661 Howard St
Unable to make it to our regular monthly meetings? Just want to kick back and mingle with liberty-minded individuals? We have a monthly "None of our Business" happy hour social, to take a break from party business and talk life, politics or whatever is on your mind. Come out for a drink and get to know us!
RSVP on the LPSF Meetup Group - meetup.com/the-LPSF
Saturday, November 17: JSA Convention Tabling
1-4pm, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA)
We will have two Libertarian tables to give out literature, books, and buttons. It will be at a NEW LOCATION this year -- the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. Usually over 1,000 high school students attend this convention. We will go out to eat afterwards at Pizza California at 1708 Oakland Rd in San Jose, owned by a libertarian.
Wednesday, November 28: Free San Francisco! Town Hall Caucus Event
6-9pm - Clickup - 580 Howard Street
For everyone who wants more freedom in San Francisco, even if it’s only one issue! This is your space to meet and caucus with others who care about getting government off people’s backs on that issue. Plus special feature each month!
Saturday, December 8: Libertarian Party of San Francisco Monthly Meeting and Social
3:00-5:00pm, San Francisco Main Library 4th floor Conference Room, 100 Larkin Street
Our regular monthly meeting! Post-election edition.